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The television programme is written and introduced by Catherine King, lecturer in art history. It is about the Cornaro Chapel in the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, in which there is a sculpt...ure of the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa. The chapel was desiged by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the mid-seventeenth century. The programme investigates the way in which Bernini translated St. Teresa's verbal account of her religious ecstasy into visual terms; shaping the simple ingredients of paint, stone and light into a complex and dramatic symbol of religious feelings. It deals successively with the structure of the whole chapel the symbolic properties of the cloud which supports the group; the interaction between the Angel and St. Teresa which conveys the complex emotions of ecstatic pleasure and pain and finally, the ambiguous meaning of Bernini's use of light. The programme attempts to recreate the intended meaning of this chapel; but emphasises that the meaning of works of art may be different for different societies and individuals.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A100, Humanities: a foundation course
Item code: A100; 15; 1972
First transmission date: 10-03-1972
Published: 1972
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:05
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Producer: Nick Levinson
Contributor: Catherine King
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Bernini; Sculpture
Footage description: Catherine King introduces the programme and explains the historical method as it is applied to the study of art. Detailed shots of the Cornaro Chapel and of the statuary group figuring St. Teresa. Analysis of the building; architectural prints, its decoration etc. It is briefly compared with the Sacristry, San Lorenzo, Florence. St. Teresa's account of her vision is quoted. Short biography of St. Teresa and a portrait are given. The sequence is then given over in its entirety to a close appraisal of the statue group. Many detailed shots with voice over indicating the symbolism of light and cloud and an attempt is made to link St. Teresa's own account of the mystical experience with Bernini's translation of it into marble. Quotations of varying lengths from St. Teresa's account of the vision. Catherine King summarises the programme making the point that interpretation is a demanding exercise requiring both imagination and knowledge.
Master spool number: 6HT/70574
Production number: 00525_3064
Videofinder number: 2374
Available to public: no